Jeff Hussey, the founder and former chief executive of F5 Networks, has a new project.
Over the summer, Hussey connected with Seattle enterprise security startup Asguard Networks. He was intrigued enough to finance the company with $1.2 million of his own money and take over as chief executive.
Hussey also chose a new name for the company, which as of today is called Tempered Networks. Half joking, he said he considered calling it F6 Networks but Tempered better reflects the hardened nature of the industrial networking gear it builds for companies such as Boeing and public utilities.
Asguard was started in 2012 by Boeing veterans including David Mattes, who worked on a new network security system for Boeing when it shifted from a traditional manufacturing approach to a robotic system on the 777. The idea was to connect industrial devices while shielding the company’s network from intrusion.
With Mattes as chief executive, Asguard developed a line of security appliances and secured around 15 customers deploying hundreds of the devices.
After being introduced by a former F5 executive last summer, Hussey and Mattes decided to relaunch and rebrand the company. Hussey sees a huge opportunity to improve the edge of industrial control networks, similar to the way F5 addressed the need to better manage the periphery of corporate networks.
Mattes is now chief technology officer. He said he always planned to hand over the reins at some point.
“It was really my intention from the start of this, to take Asguard as far as I could and seek out a business partner, somebody who could articulate what we were doing and the value we were bringing and help drive that to the next level and beyond.”
Hussey’s starting out by raising money. The company today is announcing that it has $2 million in seed funding, plus another $4 million that should be announced later this year.
“I’m not done raising money,” he said. “It’s not very well remembered but F5 went public having raised $12.6 million venture financing and so our goal is to be as capital efficient as possible.”
The company’s also grown from four to 15 employees over the last two months, based at new offices on Lower Queen Anne – a few blocks from F5. Within a year the company could employ 50 to 100 people if it meets “ambitious internal sales goals,” Hussey said.
The 2015 goals are confidential but Hussey hopes Tempered has sales of $10 million a year within five years.
That could happen if Tempered rides the wave of network upgrades coming as the “Internet of Things” expands and industrial network standard crystallize.
“The critical infrastructure has to be secured and the same sort of thing happened in the early days of the rapid growth of the Internet,” he said.
A Tempered image of its security appliances: